Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I'll make it anywhere...

Your blogstress is pleased to announce that the New York Observer has at long last acknowledged the existence of your cybertrix -- something she knew those smart fellas over there would have to do sooner or later.

In this week's column, Ron Rosenbaum chronicles the fracas kicked up by your Webwench's manly colleague on TAPPED, Charles Pierce, in his critique of the Michael Richards meltdown, whereupon he said things that pissed off the ladies of that Weblog (Garance Franke-Ruta and yours truly). Your écrivaine regrets that she does come off as a bit humorless in the whole thing, but that's a small price to pay for having one's name turn up on the peach sheet.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Not a prejudiced bone in my body

Your blogstress seems to have kicked up a bit of dust with her assertion, on TAPPED (the Weblog of The American Prospect Online), that nearly all white Americans are racially prejudiced. (No, your cybertrix does not count herself out of this equation.)

It all began with a post by the very funny but somewhat sexist Charlie Pierce, who, commenting on the racist meltdown of "Seinfeld" alumn Michael Richards, asserted that the Seinfeld show always spouted prejudices but went on to compare the spouting of prejudice by the misogynist (and often funny) late comic Sam Kinison as preferable to that of the Seinfeld types, who suffered from some form of "maidenly vapors," according to Pierce. Oy vey, to quote a favorite editor of your net-tête's.

This did not amuse Garance Francke-Ruta, one of your Webwench's rare female colleagues at TAPPED, who took Pierce to task for his celebration of the misogynist Kinison, as well as the crappy "vapors" comment, in this post.

Piling on to pummel Pierce with her pocketbook was your écrivaine, who took the opportunity to comment, as well, on the Michael Richards hate speech, yielding her comment about the prejudices of those of the Caucasian persuasion, to which she belongs.

Well, there's a damn-near free-for-all taking place right now on TAPPED, and your blogstress urges her devotees to add their comments -- if they know what's good for them.

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NOW-NJ elects first African-American president
Maretta J. Short prevails in statewide contest


Maretta J. Short (second from left), the newly elected president of NOW-NJ, is the first African-American to hold the post. She is pictured here at the organization’s March Women Making History event, together with NOW activists Terry Fasano to her left and, to her right, Susan Waldman (holding grandson Joshua), Shirley Henderson and Barbara Foley. photo courtesy NOW-NJ

Your blogstress just couldn’t be more tickled to learn that Maretta J. Short, your Webwench’s college friend and nearly lifelong compatriot in la causa, has been elected president of New Jersey’s state-level National Organization for Women (NOW), which in the most densely populated state in the nation really means something. And she’s the first African-American to hold the post.

Maretta, who was nominated from the floor of NOW’s state convention, comes to the organization’s top statewide leadership post from her role as chapter president of the Women of Color & Allies, NOW-NJ’s Essex County chapter. She tells your cybertrix of a diverse roster of officers that were elected with her, including a transgendered person and two other African-Americans, as well as a contingent from the South Jersey Alice Paul chapter.

Back in the days when your écrivaine chased the religious right around the country, she would periodically sink into a pit of despair. In those moments, it was Maretta who commanded, “Keep the faith!” And she was clearly true to her own word.

After an hour of burning the phone lines between Essex and Hudson Counties (your blogstress having inhabited the latter), Retta invariably issued her signature sign-off: “Plant ya now; dig ya later.”

Congratulations, Maretta!

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Friday, November 17, 2006

De mean man needs to hear from you

Your blogstress would like to make the following announcement: she has never been demeaned by the distribution of family planning to her or anybody else. In fact, if you are giving out free condoms, she will gratefully accept them, as they're getting a bit pricey these days.

The impetus for your Webwench's declaration is found in the following lede paragraph from a Washington Post article by the most attractive Christopher Lee:

The Bush administration has appointed a new chief of family-planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services who worked at a Christian pregnancy-counseling organization that regards the distribution of contraceptives as "demeaning to women."
It's one thing, in an anti-choice administration, to choose a deputy assistant secretary for population affairs who opposes legalized abortion -- pretty awful, but intellectually consistent. But unless you believe affairs of population to be most beneficial in an expansive state, the president's appointment makes no damn sense. We're told it's about playing to his base. But I thought the base was evangelical Protestants, not right-wing, Latin-Mass Catholics, who comprise a pretty small minority.

Your blogstress suggests protesting in the tea-bag tradition by sending used condoms to the Department of Health and Human Services, attention Eric Keroack, deputy assistant secretary for population affairs. Add the note, Demean this!

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hoyer wins, and all that crap

Rep. John Murtha sure wasn't my pick for House Majority Leader, especially after Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the ridiculous assertion that she was going to run the squeakiest-clean operation ever. But, crap, ya gotta love Murtha for having brought the word "crap" to public political discourse with the force of something hitting the proverbial fan.

In his interview last night with MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Murtha used the scatalogical term some nine times, according to Matthews's count, when explaining the context for his deployment of the word as a description of the ethics rule changes proposed by his champion, the House speaker.

While Murtha's loss to Maryland's Steny Hoyer may have deprived your blogstress and her devotees the sort of fodder derived from a veritable font of excrement, the present outcome likely saved the Democrats a whole lotta agita.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Your extinguished host

Your blogstress received an alarming e-mail yesterday from her foxy friend, Glenn, informing her that a visit to the breakaway republic yielded only a message that AddieStan had expired! With the rise and fall of each breath conveyed by her bustier, your ecrivaine here asserts that she is indeed quite alive, merci beaucoup.

It had to do with your Webwench's turncoat friends at Network Solutions, who were once the holders of virtually all the domain names on the Web, and now seem to serve simply as condescending keepers of a waning business -- who do little to protect their subscribers from identity theft, at that.

Anyhoo, your cybertrix wil return later today to discuss the meaning of some of the post-election numbers now seeping out of the pollsters' haunts.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Evangelical vote: little change

The screen crawl last night on CNN quoted the AP reporting that "nearly a third of white evangelical Christians" had voted Democratic in Tuesday's mid-term elections, a fact that had Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, crowing last night on "The Daily Show."

Now, your blogstress thinks that's just great but, at the risk of letting the air out of some blue balloons, she takes this opportunity to remind her devotees that that's about the same percentage (68 percent) as voted Democratic in the 2002 mid-term election.

According to the New York Times piece linked above, efforts by religious left activists did have some effect though, in the same article, James L. Guth, a professor of political science at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, says that, in the words of reporter Laurie Goodstein, "[t]he religious voters who did switch from Republican to Democrat just mirrored the American electorate as a whole."

Despite the fact that Prof. Guth is the faculty advisor to Furman's College Republicans, your cybertrix is inclined to accept his assessment of the voter breakdown. It's still too early, of course, to know what really happened. More will be revealed...

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Majority Leader Harry Reid
The Senate goes Dem, too

NBC has just called the Virginia Senate race for Democrat-come-lately James Webb, meaning the Democrats will control the Senate -- just barely -- with 51 members. MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann suggested that a concession speech from Sen. Macacawitz (a.k.a., George Allen) may happen as soon as tomorrow. Apparently, given bad odds of his prevailing in a recount, Macacawitz advisors are arguing against calling a recount.

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For a veritable cornucopia of post-election wit and wisdom...

...visit TAPPED, the Web log of The American Prospect Online, where your blogstress dwells in the company of a group of very smart -- and mostly deliciously young -- men.

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Other people's agendas

In her first press conference since the Democrats won the majority in the House, presumed Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi smacked around Rep. John Conyers of Detroit, who has called for the impeachment of President Bush. Asked whether or not the Democrats would pursue impeachment, Pelosi said unequivocally, "Impeachment is off the table." Making a distinction between the Democrats at large and those who have called for impeachment, the prospective speaker suggested that "such actions" are the priorities of individuals, but "they are not our priorities."

Your blogstress is not advocating the immediate convening of impeachment hearings, but to take impeachment -- of a president who never deserved it more -- off the table is to deny the American people the ultimate mechanism of presidential accountability. I mean, who knows what next this clown will pull? (It won't just be your finger.)

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Statehood effort for D.C. news to Bush

When asked why he supports democracy for Iraq, but not for the District of Columbia, the president said "this is the first I'm hearing of" a bill pending before the House that would give statehood to D.C. and another congressional seat to Utah.

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Doing the punditry

Your blogstress could be mistaken, but she's quite sure that she just heard the leader of the free world say, in explaining some error he made in speech, "That's why I shouldn't do the punditry."

A quote, no doubt, that devotees may find more accurately stated via a search in the Google.

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Madam Speaker

Your blogstress here confesses that, given the 22 years that have passed since a woman last graced the presidential ticket of a major political party, she truly did not expect to live to see the day when a woman would become speaker of the House of Representatives. Reveling in the news of their landslide win of the House, Democrats are poised to elect Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to a post no Democrat has held for more than decade.

But the Dems' newfound grrrl power doesn't end there; as reported in Women's e-News (WeN), four women are poised to lead committees, even the powerful House intelligence committee, on which California's Rep. Jane Harman currently serves as ranking member. The Web site does note, however, Harman's ascension to be in doubt because of "her reportedly sour relationship with Pelosi."

Other likely female committee chairmen include Louise Slaughter (N.Y.), in line to lead the Rules Committee, Juanita Millender-McDonald (Calif.) of the House Administration Committee, and Nydia Velazquez (N.Y.) of the Small Business Committee.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dems may just get the Senate!

Projected so far:

Casey (Penn.)
Menendez (N.J.)
Cardin (Md.)
Whitehouse (R.I.)

Not a Dem anymore, but something like one:
Lieberman (Conn.)

*Projections from MSNBC

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Home-boy Menedez wins
Legacy of corruption trumps dynasty of presumption

It is with sigh of relief that your blogstress notes that one of her least favorite sons of Jersey has triumphed in the race for the Garden State's Senate seat. Yes, Bob Menendez, your Webwench's former congressman, has now won his place in that august body, despite his Hudson County roots and the whiff of corruption that the old money, in the form of scion Tom Kean, Jr., kept fanning back on him.

The source of your net-tête's distaste for the Hudson County honcho stems not, however, from any accusation of corruption, but rather personal experience. Back in the 1980s, some very bad people known as the contras were being armed by the United States in order to make war upon the Marxist government of Nicaragua -- which, for better or worse, was probably the most socially progressive the Nicaraguans had ever known. The contras' idea of making war on the Sandinistas, however was to actually rape and torture civilians, leading liberals such as yours truly to call for the end to funding of this despicable group.

A vote for contra funding was coming up, so being a good little liberal nerd, your cybertrix called her congressman to ask him not to give a yea to guns for murderers, and she later received a letter thanking her for advocating for funding for the contras, a measure ultimately supported by Rep. Menendez.

A friend who was then an operative in the Hudson County Democratic machine explained, "Oh, they just looked at your zip code and assumed you were a right-wing Cuban."

Hasta la vista, baby.

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Don't leave home without your camcorder
Voter suppression in Virginia and elsewhere needs documentation

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THIS VIDEO


It's really getting deep in Ol' Virginny, where Kay Steiger, your blogstress's colleague at TAPPED, the Web log of The American Prospect Online, was challenged when she tried to vote in the precinct in which she is registered. Check out Kay's story.

The Associated Press is reporting that the FBI is investigating the intimidating calls, like the one mentioned here earlier that was made to a voter by someone purporting to be from the Virginia Election Commission, who promised the voter that he would be arrested if he showed up at his polling place.

VideoTheVote.org is encouraging folks to record their experience at the polls, and then upload any video collected of anything shady.

CLICK HERE to check out their mini-documentary.
(It's just a few minutes long.)

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Like it's not scary enough to be black in Virginia...

Opponents of Democrats have apparently been trying to bully African-Americans into staying home today in the hope of reseating Senator Macacawitz (a.k.a., George Allen).

The campaign of Macacawitz's opponent, Jim Webb -- a mere sexist, but not a racist (hey, it's Virginia) -- has posted on its Web site a recording of a voice mail received by a black Virginia voter, promising him arrest if he showed at the polls:

www.webbforsenate.com/media/phone_message.wav

Its provenance, of course, remains uncertain.

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Keep your Webwench posted...

Send your cybertrix your observations of races in your home state. She wants all the dirt, of course -- the lowdown on the Republican robo-calls, the Republican voter suppression, the bribes, the offers of food and happy-ending massages. Don't leave your écrivaine in the dark (unless you plan to join her there).

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Happy Election Day!

Those of you who actually get to pull the lever in a race that is not a foregone conclusion today should consider yourself blessed. Your blogstress, on the other hand, is trying to find the wherewithal -- which she no doubt will -- to do her civic duty and arrive at her polling place in order to vote for a mayor whose election is already assured, and a congressional representative who has no vote, at least not in Congress. Such is the state of things in Your Nation's Capital.

For something more uplifing, listen (right now!) to your blogstress's friend and certified hottie, Hans Johnson, on The Young Turks radio show today, via Air America. And get out there and vote!

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Beating his own breast

According to Wolf Blitzer, speaking today on his CNN program "Late Edition," the Rev. Ted Haggard, just fired as pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church he founded in Colorado Springs, has declared himself "a liar and deceiver" who has "committed sexual immorality."

Haggard's story has changed several times since self-described "escort" Mike Jones alleged a sex-for-money relationship with Haggard, a prominent anti-gay activist, and religious-right adviser to President George W. Bush. First he denied knowing Jones, then he said he got a massage from Jones and bought meth from him, but did not have sex with him. Today's less specific admissions would seem to indicate otherwise.

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The lady doth protest
Elizabeth Dole on the Double-talk Express

Watching Elizabeth Dole, once an admirable figure, slide ever deeper into the pit of prevarication in her role as chair of the Republican National Senatorial Campaign Committee, is deeply discomfiting. Today on "Meet the Press," Dole called the Democratic candidate from Tennessee, Harold Ford, Jr., a supporter of gay marriage -- a charge that is (unfortunately) untrue. Then she called Ford's representation of himself as a moderate conservative -- which he clearly is -- "one of the greatest political frauds ever perpetrated."

How sad to see a political pioneer -- once an inspirational figure to a generation of women -- behave with such despicable dishonesty.

(Oh, yeah, and she also defended the racist "Harold, call me" ad run by Republican National Committee.)

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Spirit
Heartsick homophobe

A press release from our friends at Focus on the Family:

Dr. James Dobson 'Heartsick' Over Haggard Allegations

COLORADO SPRINGS, Nov. 3 /Christian Newswire/ -- Focus on the Family founder and Chairman James C. Dobson, Ph.D., issued the following statement today after learning the Rev. Ted Haggard had acknowledged some "indiscretions" involving accusations made against him by a gay prostitute in Denver:

"All of us at Focus on the Family are heartsick over the allegation, not yet confirmed, that Ted has had a private life with a homosexual for several years. We will await the outcome of this story, but the possibility that an illicit relationship has occurred is alarming to us and to millions of others.

"Ted has been my close friend and colleague for many years. He has been used mightily to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Colorado Springs and around the world. He will continue to be my friend, even if the worst allegations prove accurate. Nevertheless, sexual sin, whether homosexual or heterosexual, has serious consequences and we are extremely concerned for Ted, his family and his church.

"We ask that the Focus on the Family constituency and Christians everywhere pray for Ted and his loved ones. Our hearts go out to all of them. Perhaps the allegations are false and the circumstances are not as we have heard. Either way, the situation has grave implications for the Cause of Christ and we ask for the Lord's guidance and blessings in the days ahead."
Your blogstress obviously lacks any inside knowledge of the "Cause of Christ," but she does know this about Jesus of Nazareth: There is no record of him ever having said one thing, for or against, homosexuality. Perhaps the soldiers of the Cause will find solace in turning their attention to those things that Jesus actually did address: poverty and hypocrisy.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Finding out who his friends are
Rev. Ted Haggard poster boy of shame

Rev. Ted Haggard, the anti-gay, religious right leader who yesterday resigned the presidency of the National Association of Evangelicals under the cloud of allegations -- which blog afficionados read here first -- that he paid a male prostitute for sex, is about to learn who his friends are.

So far, Dr. James Dobson, king of the Focus on the Family media empire, is standing by his man, according to the Rocky Mountain News:

"Ted Haggard is a friend of mine, and it appears someone is trying to damage his reputation as a way of influencing the outcome of Tuesday's election," especially the marriage amendment vote [a Colorado ballot initiative to be voted on this Tuesday], Dobson said in a release.
With the marriage initiative at stake, it seems that Dobson was able to set aside his differences with Haggard with regard to global warming, which Haggard thinks evangelicals should battle.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, on the other hand, offers Haggard no solace, demeaning the troubled pastor last night on CNN, as quoted in The Guardian:
"He (Haggard) doesn't really lead the (evangelical) movement. ... He is the president of an association that is very loosely knit and I've never been a member of it."

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Answering Harold's call

While media polls show Harold Ford, Jr. trailing Republican Bob Corker in a Tennessee Senate race gone truly ugly (thanks to a racist ad financed by the Republican National Committee), the folks at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee beg to differ:

New polling data out this afternoon (Nov. 2) from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) shows Harold Ford Jr. leading Bob Corker by six points (46%-40%).  In addition, the survey shows that Corker’s support has dropped six points in just three days.  Hamilton Beattie & Staff conducted the survey among 600 likely voters statewide from October 31 to November 1. The margin of error was 4%.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Credit where credit is due

Your blogstress would like to remind fellow citizens of the blogosphere that when she reports something she has read on another's blog, she credits that blog, expecting nothing less in return. (Can you smell the leather?)

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Have mercy

Pity the beleaguered followers of the pooh-bahs of the religious right. No, your blogstress is not being snide or facetious; she truly does ask her reader to gently consider the fate of a people so betrayed by their leaders that they find themselves with no one to follow.

As if the Mark Foley scandal was not enough, or the Ralph Reed scandal, or the involvement of Dr. James Dobson in the Ralph Reed scandal, or the revelation by former White House staffer David Kuo of the administration's contempt for religious right leaders (known as "nuts" around the West Wing), today brings word of accusations against the president of the National Association of Evangelicals that he is gay, pays for sex and sniffs meth.

The accusations against Rev. Ted Haggard, pastor of the 14,000-member Life Ministries Church of Colorado Springs, aired last night, were made to a Denver television reporter by admitted "escort" Mike Jones, who claims Haggard as a "sexual business" client for the last three years. 9NEWS reporter Paula Woodward says she has been talking to Jones for the last two months.

Though not a household name in the reality-based community, Haggard is a member of the inner circle of religious leaders who advise the White House via weekly conference calls. Jeff Sharlet, in Harper's magazine, finds Haggard's power within the movement comparable to that of Dobson, who leads the vast Focus on the Family empire.

With two measures on the Colorado ballot next week regarding gay marriage, there's a heavy dose of politics in the Jones accusations. Haggard has promised an "independent investigation" by members of his church, and swears that he has been faithful to his wife. Stay tuned.

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